Saying goodbye to a friend

Last Sunday I went for a hike. Not because I wanted to exercise or take in some scenery, but because I needed to say goodbye to a close friend who passed away from brain cancer late Saturday night. After battling the cancer for a little over a year, Jason ran out of treatment options and began hospice care in the end of February. His final decline happened so quickly over a matter of a week that my head and heart are still trying to comprehend the loss. I am utterly heartbroken.

When I learned of Jason’s death, I did the thing that felt natural to me… the thing that helps me deal with grief the most. I grabbed my hiking shoes, journal, watercolors and pens and headed for the hills. I wanted to be in a place that was strong with his memory, so I drove to a nearby park that Doug and I had visited with Jason and his family a few years ago.

On that trip we had all hiked to the top of a mesa, so I chose to retrace that route. When I got to the top, I sat on the edge and took my art and writing materials out of my backpack. Through tears, I dipped my paintbrush into my watercolors and captured onto the page that landscape that held such cherished memories. At that moment I knew that the mesa would forever be the place I go to when I want to remember Jason.

Then I took out my pen and wrote a goodbye to him in the pages of my journal. By that time, it had become extremely blustery on the mesa and I could hardly hold my book and pen steady. When I was finished, I read what I had written out loud. As the words left my mouth, I pictured the wind carrying them to our dear friend.

Jason– I hope they reached you and that you know how much you are loved and missed.